Book Casing

Great books recommended by great people.

Peter Thiel's Bookcase

Peter Andreas Thiel (/ˈtl/; born October 11, 1967) is a German-American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager. Thiel co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk and served as its CEO. He also co-founded Palantir, of which he is chairman. He was the first outside investor in Facebook, the popular social-networking site, with a 10.2% stake acquired in 2004 for $500,000, and sits on the company's board of directors.

Photo by: Dan Taylor


An astonishing work of cultural criticism, this book is widely recognized as a brilliant and devastating challenge to conventional views of literature, anthropology, religion, and psychoanalysis. In its scope and itnerest it can be compared with Freud's Totem and Taboo, the subtext Girard refutes with polemic daring, vast erudition, and a persuasiveness that leaves the reader compelled to respond, one way or another.

This is the single fullest summation of Girard's ideas to date, the book by which they will stand or fall. In a dialogue with two psychiatrists (Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort), Girard probes an encyclopedic array of topics, ranging across the entire spectrum of anthropology, psychoanalysis, and cultural production.

Girard's point o departure is what he calles "mimesis," the conflict that arises when human rivals compete to differentiate themselves from each other, yet succeed only in becoming more and more alike. At certain points in the life of a society, according to Girard, this mimetic conflict erupts into a crisis in which all difference dissolves in indiscriminate violence. In primitive societies, such crises were resolved by the "scapegoating mechanism," in which the community, en masse, turned on an unpremeditated victim. The repression of this collective murder and its repetition in ritual sacrifice then formed the foundations of both religion and the restored social order.

How does Christianity, at once the most "sacrificial" of religions and a faith with a non-violent ideology, fit into this scheme? Girard grants Freud's point, in Totem and Taboo, that Christianity is similar to primitive religion, but only to refute Freud—if Christ is sacrificed, Girard argues, it is not becuase God willed it, but becaus ehuman beings wanted it.

The book is not merely, or perhaps not mainly, biblical exegesis, for within its scope fall some of the most vexing problems of social history—the paradox that violance has social efficacy, the function of the scapegoat, the mechanism of anti-semitism.

Found via: Favobooks

“The signs and instruments of power are no longer armed legions or raw materials or capital… The wealth we seek does not lie in the earth or in numbers of men or in machines, but in the human spirit. And particularly in the ability of men to think and to create.” -- Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber in his international bestseller, The American Challenge.

The American Challenge was 50 years ahead of its time in its appraisal of Europe, industrialization, the global economy and digital future, and the sclerosis of French politics. The youth of the world can now rediscover this landmark book, and take measure of all that still remains to be accomplished to bring to fruition the dreams of post-war generation.

“The world we live in is very much the world Servan-Schreiber imagined,” Professor Paul Krugman writes in his preface to this ebook edition, further adding that “JJSS was an incredibly insightful prophet.”

With its radically new economic and political vision, The American Challenge was a bestseller when first published in 1967. Selling over 2 million copies in France and more than 10 million throughout the world, the book was translated and published in 16 languages and 26 countries.

This first ebook edition provides the original edition’s text in its entirety. Available from all major online retailers, it includes a new preface by New York Times op-ed contributor and Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Paul Krugman, acclaiming a book that “marked a whole generation.”

Praise for "The American Challenge": “The American Challenge, was not only a game changer for European–American relations, it also provided a new and innovative conception of national competitiveness. The book was a true catalyst in the creation of the World Economic Forum.”- Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman, The World Economic Forum

“Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber first put forth his bold vision of accelerating American prosperity back in 1967. While this outcome seemed inevitable at the time, half a century later we have fallen far short of that future. The reissue of his landmark book serves as a clarion call for our stagnant civilization to find a way back to the optimistic future of the 1960s.” - Peter Thiel, Co-Founder of Paypal, Managing Partner of the Founders’ Fund

“Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber was a true humanist. He understood the importance of the sovereignty for the people in the wake of European colonialism, as well as the potential in federating resources in an increasingly multipolar world, exemplified by his support of the European integration. He also foresaw the possibilities and challenges of modern technology.” - Nicolas Berggruen, President, Berggruen Institute on Governance

“The American Challenge is an excellent, vigorous and modern book – that is to say, one free of many of the usual shortcomings and repetitiveness of commonplace thinking.” - Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of France, 1974-1981

“The American Challenge is at the top of the best seller lists. For a tome rich in statistics and dealing with the world of economic and corporate development, computers, satellites and the rivalries of industrial power blocs, this is an astonishing success. If Marx had done as well with “Das Kapital”, we might all be waving red flags and eating caviar.” - New York Times, May 19, 1968

About the Author: Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber (1924 – 2006) was a WWII fighter pilot, the founder of the French newsweekly L’Express, author of several bestsellers, and deputy and President of the regional council of Lorraine. He was also a professor and chairman of the department of strategic thinking at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where a fellowship in his name was established in 2004.

Found via: Favobooks

Sir Francis Bacon's "The New Atlantis" is a utopian novel about a mythical land called Bensalem, the inhabitants live happily with the sciences. "The New Atlantis" was published in 1627, the year after the Sir Francis Bacon's death. In "The New Atlantis," Bacon focuses on the duty of the state toward science, and his projections for state-sponsored research anticipate many advances in medicine and surgery, meteorology, and machinery. Although "The New Atlantis" is only a part of his plan for an ideal commonwealth, this work does represent Bacon's ideological beliefs. The inhabitants of Bensalem represent the ideal qualities of Bacon the statesman: generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit. These were the ideal qualities which Bacon wanted to see in 17th century England. In "The New Atlantis," Bacon breaks from Plato, Aristotle and other ancient writers by insisting that humans do not need to aspire to fewer desires because the extraordinary advances of science would make it possible to appease bodily desires by providing material things that would satisfy human greed. For Bacon there is no reason to waste time and energy trying to get human beings to rise to a higher moral state. Ultimately, Bacon clearly sees the advances of science as the best way of increasing humanity's control over nature and providing for the comfort and convenience of all people, and England's Royal Society and similar organizations dedicated to scientific progress are generally regarded as embodying Bacon's utopian vision. The utopia of "The New Atlantis" underscores the idea that science will solve the evils of this world.

Found via: Favobooks


A Study of the Relation of Military Power to National Advantage

The Library of Alexandria is an independent small business publishing house. We specialize in bringing back to live rare, historical and ancient books. This includes manuscripts such as: classical fiction, philosophy, science, religion, folklore, mythology, history, literature, politics and sacred texts, in addition to secret and esoteric subjects, such as: occult, freemasonry, alchemy, hermetic, shamanism and ancient knowledge. Our books are available in digital format. We have approximately 50 thousand titles in 40 different languages and we work hard every single day in order to convert more titles to digital format and make them available for our readers. Currently, we have 2000 titles available for purchase in 35 Countries in addition to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our titles contain an interactive table of contents for ease of navigation of the book. We sincerely hope you enjoy these treasures in the form of digital books.

Found via: Favobooks


Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson took science fiction to dazzling new levels. Now, in The Diamond Age, he delivers another stunning tale. Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life—and the entire future of humanity—is about to be decoded and reprogrammed…

Found via: Favobooks



Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future


If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Also recommended by

Found via: Favobooks

You might also enjoy books from